After being relegated to mostly mop-up duty for two coaches in two years, Ralph Hill was beginning to have doubts about whether he was a Division I-caliber basketball player.
But that changed after announcing at the end of last season he planned to transfer from the University of Dayton. The 6-foot-6 forward, who has two years of eligibility left, was pursued by a handful of schools, ultimately picking Oakland University over Cleveland State and Akron.
“It felt great to be wanted again, and it helped my confidence,” said Hill, who visited all three schools. “That’s the big thing I wanted to get back. I wanted it to get back to how it was when I first got to Dayton.”
The Westerville North High School product, who averaged 1.4 points and 1.9 rebounds in 25 games last season, played as a freshman for Brian Gregory, who is an Oakland graduate. Coach Greg Kampe is in his 28th season at the Rochester, Mich., school.
“When they were recruiting me, they told me BG had called them and kind of nudged them in my direction,” Hill said.
The process of leaving UD was agonizing, but Hill said: “It made me stronger and put a chip on my shoulder to prove to everybody I can play at this level.”
The Grizzlies have made four straight postseason trips, including NCAA berths in 2010 and ’11. They play in the Summit League but have been lobbying to join the Horizon League as a replacement for Butler.
UD coach Archie Miller said the Flyers’ Josh Benson, who suffered a torn knee ligament Dec. 30 and missed the second half of last season, is ahead of schedule in his recovery. The starting senior forward has been shooting and weight-lifting without restrictions.
Miller said the Flyers will start a home-and-away series with Illinois State this year at UD Arena.
The Redbirds have made four NIT trips in the last five years. They went 21-14 last season and are expected to be one of the top teams in the Missouri Valley Conference this year.
The Flyers prefer to reserve series games for BCS foes, but Miller pointed out having VCU and Butler join the Atlantic 10 this year has already given UD’s schedule an unexpected boost.
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